Five Things You Need for Your Unassisted Birth

By Bunmi on February 1st 2012
One of my favorite YouTube videos features birth advocate Laura Shanley speaking to Bob Berkowitz and Donna Barnes about unassisted birth.

She speaks about the flight or fight fear response that makes birth so painful and difficult for women around the world, and surprisingly, it seems as if the newscasters start to see where she’s coming from!

My second baby was born at home unassisted. It was the most amazing and empowering experiences I’d ever had. Before I gave birth, I had the opportunity to speak to Laura Shanley on the phone to work out some of my pre-labor jitters. She was warm, full of information, and just the voice I needed to embark on my journey.

There are many lists out there that detail the items you need for an unassisted or home birth. Chux pads, music, etc. I purchased a basic homebirth kit before labor. 80% of the items remained unused. I found that most of the things I needed for a successful birth on my terms weren’t things at all.


1) A basic understanding of the birth process. Our ancestors got this by watching actual births before they were hidden away in hospitals. Go online. Watch videos. Read midwifery blogs. Check out a books at the library by Ina May Gaskin. Read Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Read. A cerebral understanding of what and why your body must do to birth your baby is key.

2) Find a supportive network. You need a tribe. This can be online in the form of a homebirth group (although there are homebirthers who are against unassisted birth) or online. I joined a Yahoo! group and found tremendous support. You’ll learn so much from other women’s personal stories.

It also helps to read unassisted birth blogs. Email the bloggers directly if you have questions.

3) Become your own medical health professional. Feed yourself whole foods. Stay fit through walking. Take your vitamins, drink red raspberry leaf tea. If possible, limit your daily stress. Meditate. Nurture your spirituality. Journal. Take care of yourself and prepare your mind and body for childbirth.

4) A “what-if” strategy. I didn’t indulge in negative thoughts much but I did have a back-up plan in mind to soothe my right brain. It was fairly simple: 911. It’s nice to live in a modern society where help is only a phone call away if and when I choose to utilize it.

5) Trust in your intuition. This is #1. There’s a little voice inside all of us that knows more and can perceive faster than our own efforts and logic. Some call this God, others, the Divine, I call it intuition. As part of strengthening your spirituality during your pregnancy to prepare for labor, develop your ability to hear and willingness to trust in your intuition.

Every other day we hear about how someone’s “knowing” saved their life or resulted in a miraculous experience, learn to stay in tune with your feelings. Breathe. Calm your mind. You’re about to have a transformational experience. Enjoy.

Happy pushing.